Compromise or Conscience?
A partly fictional re-telling of my ballet experience. This is "A Developing Passion" taken to the next level. Please critique and comment! God bless you. Megan
The curtain wings enveloped her, smothering her guilt. “The Lord's Day is a day of rest to glorify God,” the pastor's words in the morning sermon echoed in Ernesha's mind. Of all the days someone could preach about the keeping the Sabbath holy! If Jesus came back right now…Ernesha gulped.
She glanced down at her tutu. Was it all right to dance like this on the Sabbath – even if the performance was only once a year? But this was her last year dancing at any school anyway, unless a school offered her a scholarship. She could not afford tuitions anymore. American Ballet Company had interviewed her yesterday for a possible teaching position and tomorrow Soli Deo Gloria would interview her for their student scholarship. But what if they didn’t accept her?
Her cue arrived. She exited the wings with a smile. Sinking into a split, she suppressed any strain that dared show on her face.
A few hours later, Ernesha sank into a chair. While wrapping the ribbons around her worn pointe shoe, she thrust it into the already bulging suitcase. Her friend Rachel, who sat beside her, as she yanked off the myriad bobby pins from her bun, asked her about the interview with American Ballet Company yesterday.
Winking her eye, Ernesha gave a long lecture on the seriousness of choosing the best teachers. Then she admitted they were indeed pleasantly surprised at her talent in ballet. But soberly, she emphasized that with only have two more weeks remaining to pay her house rentals; she had to get the job. Just yesterday the owner of her home threatened to kick her out if she did not pay this month’s rental again. “Besides, I have no other place to go and it’s the best home I could ever live in because the meadows behind my home, is the perfect place to dance and pray...”
“Pray to whom?” Rachel, rolling her eyes, scoffed, “Jesus? He doesn't listen. There's only one true Living God. Sorry, Ernesha, I know we have different opinions, but there's only one God, not three.”
Before she could reply, Rachel switched the subject, asking her if she had any back-up plan if American Ballet Company rejected her as a teacher. Ernesha responded that Soli Deo Gloria Ballet, a Christian ballet company offered student scholarships and her interview was tomorrow. However, if she did earn the scholarship, she would still have to work part-time, plus dance. So she depended on American Ballet Company to hire her as their teacher.
Bidding good-bye to Rachel and promising to call her tomorrow after the interview finished, she drove home. As soon as she arrived home, she raced out the back door into the meadows. There violet, lavender, and pink brushed its paint across the sky with an artist's hand. The sun's ball of gold played peek-a-boo behind the mountains. Snaking and pushing through the field of lavender-blue Forget-Me-Nots, the gentle wind floated as it climbed up to Ernesha's face and caressed her cheeks. Mockingbirds, throwing back their heads, tweeted as they filled the silence with music.
There Ernesha worshiped her Creator with ballet. Here was her sanctuary of thanksgiving for Jesus. Stopping for a moment, she pondered at the sky’s beauty. What if God wanted her to stop dancing on a Sunday? If she quitted, how would she earn a living? If Soli Deo Gloria ballet offered her a scholarship, she still had to find a part-time job. What if both American Ballet Company and Soli Deo Gloria ballet did not accept her? And what if she couldn’t find a job and she couldn’t pay her house rental? Only two more weeks remained to pay her bills.
Oh, God, she breathed. I don’t know. Help me find the truth.
The next day, Ernesha could not believe her eyes. Here the talented young dancers’ faces truly overflowed with passion and joy. Their hands and body moved with the music, emphasizing the words of the song. And none of the dancers wore immodest tutus.
With her whole heart, Ernesha hoped that she would be awarded Soli Deo Gloria’s scholarship. No longer did she care as much for American Ballet Company—this was where she could belong. In this school, only God was glorified!
Later, the principal of Soli Deo Gloria closed the interview with a smile.
“I’ve never seen such a wonderful dancer your age! But we'll contact you when we decide. God bless you!”
As Ernesha stepped out into the street, her heart tingled with bubbly excitement. She called Rachel and told her all about the interview. To celebrate, they decided to purchase tickets for New York City Ballet’s Sleeping Beauty. It would be glorious spending time together! For once they could relax and watch other dancers perform, instead of vice versa!
Ernesha thought she would have enjoyed the show more. But Soli Deo Gloria’s performance still vibrated in her mind, she did not truly enjoy it. By watching the audiences applaud the dancers merely for their grace and skill, Ernesha knew her answer.
Dancing on the Sabbath—if it did not bring direct glory to God; did not please Him. How could she praise God through a fairy-tale story and deliberately dress immodestly? The Bible said, “Keep the Sabbath day holy,” and dancing in a fairytale story on the Sabbath was not holy.
Oh God, she thought. I can never dance like this again on the Sabbath.
A voice snarled in her mind, what if American Ballet Company wants you to teach on a Sunday? What will you do then?
Ernesha flinched. She refused to think about it unless it really happened, and determined herself to trust God.
Intermission had started and Rachel turned to Ernesha. “What is your back-up plan if neither school accepts you?”
A bit cautiously, Ernesha said there was none and she could only trust Jesus. Rachel looked at Ernesha and sarcastically nodded her head, declaring that Jesus sure showed that he cared for Ernesha by leaving her with no job and no money to pay her bills. Her words flabbergasted Ernesha. Blaming Jesus for her situations never entered her mind. Seizing her opportunity to share more about Jesus, Ernesha reminded Rachel of her past words of the existence of only one true God. She confirmed the truth, but then took it to another level, as she tried explaining the Trinity. She even reminded Rachel that Jesus did fulfill all the prophecies. But Rachel still could not understand how Jesus could be God and at the same time, let Ernesha live such a difficult life.
Then part two of this ballet performance began and Ernesha could say no more.
Two weeks passed. Just three days before Ernesha’s rental bill was due, both American Ballet Company and Soli Deo Gloria Ballet called Ernesha in for a meeting on the same day. Being supportive, Rachel decided to go with Ernesha just in case both rejected her.
“We want you to teach,” said the principal of American Ballet Company immediately.
Ernesha could hardly contain her excitement and she wanted jump up and down. God answered her prayers! Then she sobered as she remembered her conviction. “What days will I be teaching?” she asked, then holding her breath.
“Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.”
Ernesha froze. She couldn't think or breathe. What was she to say? Her soul groaned. How much did God want her to sacrifice? What about her bills? Her future?
“I won't dance on a Sunday. I'm a Christian.” Ernesha rose slowly from her chair. She reached out for the desk to steady herself. “I have to keep the Sabbath day holy.”
The principal fumbled for words. “Oh, well, okay. That's your belief, okay. Sorry then. Tell me if you change your mind.”
Ernesha stumbled out of the room. Rachel had been sitting in a chair reading a magazine. When she saw Ernesha, she threw the magazine back onto the coffee table and rose. “What did they say?” she asked quickly as they buttoned their coats and stepped outside.
When Ernesha admitted her own denial, Rachel was furious. But when she told Rachel her new founded conviction to keep the Sabbath day holy, Rachel did understand. After all, Rachel herself, as a Jewess, had sacrificed many activities to keep the Jewish Sabbath day holy. All they could do was hope that Ernesha’s next meeting at Soli Deo Gloria would go well and that Soli Deo Gloria would accept Ernesha.
Soon Ernesha found herself sitting in front of Soli Deo Gloria’s director. Her heart beat so hard that she feared the whole world could hear her.
The director did not waste her words. “It was a difficult decision. But we’ve given this scholarship to someone else. I’m sorry, but maybe you can still dance for us.”
Ernesha’s heart sank to her stomach as her vision blurred. She swallowed. Without thinking, she spilled out her conviction which caused her to deny American Ballet Company’s offer, her financial crisis, and finally, that this was the end to her ballet career. Her story moved the director but she could not change the situation, and all she could do was pray with Ernesha.
When Rachel heard the news, bitterly she declared that Jesus was not God. Ernesha, admitting that she couldn’t see much good happening out of all of it, still recognized God’s power to change the situation. She reasoned, “If God gave me all this joy, should I be selfish that I would only use this joy when everything is working out? But,” She heaved a deep breath. “maybe God does not want me to dance. Jesus still works miracles, but maybe dancing is not for me.” The thought tore her heart into shreds. But no, she would not let this hinder her walk with God. Yes, weak was she, but joy would overpower her!
Rachel emphatically disagreed. Ernesha was too good at ballet to quit now! She angrily demanded how Ernesha could remain so calm and assume that a miracle would happen, and since Jesus had just proved He wasn’t here, a miracle from Him would never happen. Maybe from God, but not Jesus.
A day passed and one more day remained before Ernesha’s bill was due. In the morning, as Ernesha prayed to God, the phone rang. She let the answer machine answer. “Hi, this is American Ballet Company and I apologize for being so rash the other day. We really want you to teach and you don’t have to do it on Sunday…” Then another caller interrupted her. It was Soli Deo Gloria! “We’ve discussed your circumstances and reviewed your credentials with the faculty. It impressed so many and some even suggested that you teach the class that had no teacher yet. And so, Ernesha, call me back because we’re willing to give you this position.”
All this time Ernesha sat frozen, as her jaw dropped to the ground.
Raising her hands to the heavens, she shouted, “God, you are AWESOME!”
This was God. This was Jesus. Wait ‘til she told Rachel about this miracle!
Then jumping to her feet, she raced outside to the meadows of soft dawn—and danced.